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Home > People > Awards and appointments, January 2011

Awards and appointments, January 2011

By Adam Overland

Chengyan Yue 165
Chengyan Yue, one of five McKnight Land-Grant Professors for 2011–13.

January 26

To submit U of M staff or faculty for consideration in People, contact the Brief editor.


McKnight Land-Grant Professors, 2011–13
McKnight Land-Grant Professors for 2011–13 are Brian Aukema, CFANS; Aditya Bhan, CSE; Christopher Hogan, CSE; Chad Myers, CSE; Chengyan Yue, CFANS. The award aims to advance the careers of the U's most promising junior faculty. The recipients will be recognized by the Board of Regents at its March meeting. Read more about the program and winners.

Charles Baxter's new book reviewed in NY Times
Charles Baxter book cover 165Edelstein-Keller Professor of Creative Writing Charles Baxter published Gryphon: New and Selected Stories in January, and on January 16, 2011, the book received a front cover review in the New York Times Book Review, written by Joyce Carol Oates.

Huesman to serve as chair of AAUDE
Ron Huesman, associate director of the Office of Institutional Research, will serve as chair of the Association of American Universities Data Exchange (AAUDE) Council beginning in May 2011. The AAUDE is a public service organization whose purpose is to improve the quality and usability of information about higher education. Its membership is comprised of AAU institutions that exchange data and other information to support decision-making at their institutions. The Office of Institutional Research is part of the University’s System Academic Administration.


U in the News: A selection of U faculty in the news

Why volunteering?
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity… According to University of Minnesota Psychologist Mark Snyder, who studies volunteerism, 45% of adults in US volunteer. On My Mind.

How appropriate is Scalia at Bachmann's law seminars?
Describing the “seminars” as “what turns out to be a closed-door event in conjunction with Bachmann's Tea Party Caucus,” Kevin Diaz of the Strib files a story on the appropriateness of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia taking part in Congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s events: “One of the most outspoken critics is University of Minnesota law professor Richard Painter, chief White House ethics lawyer under former President George W. Bush. MinnPost.

Regulating Google’s Results? Law Prof Calls ‘Search Neutrality’ Incoherent
“Neutrality” — if it’s good enough for the core of the internet, isn’t it good enough for the edge?… In 2009, for instance, well-respected University of Minnesota scholar Andrew Odlyzko suggested that net neutrality (which he favored) might then “open the way for other players, such as Google, that emerge from that open and competitive arena as big winners, to become choke points. Wired.

Can eating less meat curb climate change?
Three years ago, I stood atop the Franklin Mountains at dusk, gazing over El Paso, Texas and gritty Ciudad Juárez, its third-world neighbor south of the border… "We are in essence eating the world's tropical rainforests and savannas," University of Minnesota ecology professor David Tilman told me. The Daily Climate.

Live-action fairy tales are ripe for plucking by adult filmgoers
Want to see a bedtime story, not just hear one?… The industry's re-embrace of the once-upon-a-time genre does not surprise Jack Zipes, a retired University of Minnesota professor and expert on the topic whose latest book is The Enchanted Screen: The Unknown History of Fairy-Tale Films. USA Today.

University plans bike center in parking ramp
One-stop shop for repairs, accessories and showers envisioned for cyclists Roughly 6,500 bicycles roll through the University of Minnesota's Twin Cities campus on any given day, according to the U. Finance & Commerce.

Gophers win a national title. It's Goldy!
Goldy Gopher apparently isn’t your average mascot. The University of Minnesota’s top rodent beat out national competition to win first place among Division IA schools. Star Tribune.


January 19

To submit U of M staff or faculty for consideration in People, contact the Brief editor.


Meredith McQuaid elected president of NAFSA

Meredith McQuaid 165Meredith McQuaidMeredith McQuaid, the University of Minnesota’s associate vice president and dean for international programs, has been elected president of NAFSA: Association of International Educators. Her two-year term began on Jan. 1. With 10,000 members, NAFSA is the world’s largest nonprofit professional association dedicated to international education. McQuaid will be the fourth University of Minnesota officer to lead the organization since it was founded in 1948.

McQuaid has held the position of associate vice president and dean for international programs since 2006. As the senior international officer, she promotes the global dimensions of teaching, research and engagement across all colleges and campuses of the university.

Previously, McQuaid served at the U Law School as associate dean of administration and international programs (1995-2005) and director of international and graduate programs (1994-2006). McQuaid earned her bachelor's degree in linguistics from the U and her J.D. degree, cum laude, from the U Law School. She currently serves on the board of directors for the Midwest University Consortium for International Activity. In 2006, she was awarded the University of Minnesota’s Award for Global Engagement, given to faculty and staff members in recognition of outstanding contributions to global education and international programs in their field, discipline or the university.

Laura Babcock named director of MnTAP

Laura Babcock has recently been named the new director of the Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP) at the University of Minnesota. She was chosen to lead the organization after Cindy McComas, longtime director, announced her retirement.

Babcock joins MnTAP from the NorthStar Initiative for Sustainable Enterprise, a program of the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota. In that role, she explored opportunities to improve corporate sustainability performance through enhanced asset exchange and material cycling. Prior to joining the university, Babcock worked extensively in the chemical industry in a variety of roles including a focus on green chemistry and sustainable technology. She received a doctorate in Inorganic Chemistry from University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, and bachelor's degree in chemistry from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York.

Babcock's areas of technical expertise include improving production quality of polylactic acid (PLA), lowering process costs of manufacturing operations and contributing to the discovery of various polymer technologies. She has co-authored numerous patents and publications in these areas.

In her new role at MnTAP, Babcock will be responsible for developing programs to meet business' needs, pursuing funding opportunities for program activities, collaborating with multiple in-state and national programs, managing staff and providing technical assistance to businesses in Minnesota. She will continue to teach an undergraduate course in biobased product and market development in the Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering Department within the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences at the University of Minnesota.

American Association for the Advancement of Science fellows
Three University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering professors have been named fellows to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). These professors have been elevated to this rank because of their efforts toward advancing science applications that are deemed scientifically or socially distinguished. Election as a fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers.

The University professors named fellows are:

Douglas Arnold (School of Mathematics) for outstanding research in the design, analysis and implementation of algorithms for the numerical solution of partial differential equations, and for leadership of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM).

Mostafa Kaveh (Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering) for distinguished contributions to multiple sensor signal processing and applications to localization, imaging and communications and for long-standing academic and professional leadership.

Yousef Saad (Department of Computer Science and Engineering) for distinguished contributions in numerical linear algebra, particularly in developing and analyzing iterative methods for solving large sparse linear systems and eigenvalue problems.

Outstanding Reference Source Award
Randy Moore, Mark Decker, and Sehoya Cotner's book Chronology of the Evolution-Creationism Controversy has been selected as one of 13 winners of the Outstanding Reference Source Award, given by the Reference User Services Association, a division of the American Library Association. The authors are faculty members in the Biology Program of the College of Biological Sciences.

Dartmouth Medal for outstanding reference
The Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion, as well as its online counterpart the Berg Fashion Library, were chosen as the 2011 winners of the Dartmouth Medal for outstanding reference. Joanne Eicher (Emeritus Regents Professor) is the editor for the Encyclopedia, and more than 40 U graduate students and faculty wrote chapters for the collection. For more information, see fashion encyclopedia.


U in the News: A selection of U faculty in the news

Smoking causes DNA damage in minutes
Cigarette smoke causes genetic damage within minutes—not years—after inhalation into the lungs, U.S. researchers say… Stephen Hecht of the Masonic Cancer Center at the University of Minnesota and colleagues say evidence indicates harmful substances in tobacco smoke—polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons—play a role in causing lung cancer but the study is the first to detail how PAHs in cigarette smoke cause DNA damage. UPI.

Energy Could Be a Key Area of Cooperation for the U.S. and China
Going into the U.N. global-warming summit in Cancún last month, U.S. negotiators had one big reason to be worried: China… "I worry that short-term political opportunism could derail long-term needs for both countries," says Elizabeth Wilson, an associate professor of environmental policy and law at the University of Minnesota. TIME.

Film set at Edina and U hospitals—but in Illinois
Fairview Southdale Hospital, are you ready for your close-up?… The Edina hospital and the University of Minnesota Medical Center may not get top billing in the upcoming film "Contagion." Pioneer Press.

UMD professor back on 'the ice'
This is John Goodge's 11th expedition to Antarctica… Most days, Goodge lives a 20-minute walk from the University of Minnesota-Duluth, where he's a professor of geological sciences. Star Tribune.

'Gryphon': Beautiful Stories For A Snowy Afternoon
Charles Baxter is a genius of the quotidian. From his earliest stories on, he has shown a gift for illuminating the surreal just below the surface of daily life… Charles Baxter is the author of several novels, including The Feast of Love. He lives in Minneapolis and teaches at the University of Minnesota and in the M.F.A. Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. National Public Radio


January 12

To submit U of M staff or faculty for consideration in People, contact the Brief editor.


Governor Mark Dayton named Boynton Health Services Director Ed Ehlinger as his Commissioner of Health. During his time at Boynton, he's led one of the best university health systems in the country, been at the forefront of developing response plans for things such as H1N1, and has continually pushed to raise awareness of critical issues such as mental health, the dangers of binge-drinking, and others. An open house will for Ehlinger will take place Jan. 13, 11 a.m.–1 p.m., with a short program from noon–12:30 p.m. The event is open to anyone who would like to attend. RSVP is requested (but not required) to Carol Uchal.

David Beard (Writing Studies, UMD) and his co-author, William Keith, have won the Rohrer Award for Research of the American Forensics Association. The winning article, which appeared in Philosophy and Rhetoric, began as a collaboration sponsored by the Institute for Advanced Study.

Belinda Cheung has been named assistant vice provost for graduate education effective Jan. 3. Cheung brings 20 years of experience at the University in the College of Pharmacy; she has served in a temporary part-time position as associate to the vice provost and dean for graduate education since January. The new position is part of ongoing restructuring in the Graduate School. For more information, see graduate school appointment.

Research conducted by Christopher De Jonge and Nancy Bossert—with colleagues from Stanford University—was cited by Time magazine as one of the Top 10 Medical Breakthroughs for 2010. Their findings were published in Nature Biotechnology.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack appointed two College of Veterinary Medicine faculty members to the Secretary's Advisory Committee on Animal Health: Elizabeth Wagstrom, and Cindy Wolf. Wagstrom and Wolf will serve two-year terms on the committee, which will advise the Secretary of Agriculture on actions related to prevention, surveillance, and control of animal diseases of national importance. The committee will meet for the first time in January 2011.


U in the News: A selection of U faculty in the news

How much do you affect the ecosystem?
The human race—you—has become the dominant force of change on the planet… An in-depth survey of 3,000 households in Ramsey and Anoka counties is providing environmental researchers at the University of Minnesota insight into just that question. Star Tribune.

Use of antibiotics in livestock spurs national debate
Antibiotics are supposed to keep animals and humans healthy… Randall Singer, a veterinarian and professor of epidemiology at the University of Minnesota, also testified. He's studied antibiotic uses and resistance for 12 years as part of the school's College of Veterinary Medicine and School of Public Health. WCF Courier.

U.S. population growth slowed, still envied
Despite the slowest decade of population growth since the Great Depression, the USA remains the world's fastest-growing industrialized nation and the globe's third-most populous country at a time when some are actually shrinking… "We're going to dodge that bullet," says Steven Ruggles, director of the Minnesota Population Center at the University of Minnesota. USA Today.

Battling Burnout
Macaran Baird remembers a time early in his career when it seemed his professional life was getting the better of him… Today, as chair of family medicine and community health at the University of Minnesota, he pays attention to his daily stress level and takes breaks from work when he finds stress getting out of hand. Minnesota Medicine.

Experts Begin to Identify Nonacademic Skills Key to Success
As federal pressure intensifies to ensure students graduate ready for college and careers, researchers are beginning to go beyond identifying the subject-matter classes students need to succeed after high school and home in on the cognitive and noncognitive skills that also contribute to success. Research also points to five key noncognitive indicators that a student will need to be able to complete college and become successfully employed, according to Paul Sackett, a psychology professor at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. Education Week.

Fat's Chance as a Renewable Diesel Fuel
From algae and wood chips to grasses and solid waste, scientists are looking far and wide for the raw material that will yield a new generation of renewable fuel—a source that doesn't divert food into energy, and is abundant enough to make a significant dent in the oil market... "You've got all these different sources and they all have they potential to be made into biodiesel or renewable diesel," said Douglas Tiffany, a biofuels expert at the University of Minnesota. National Geographic.

Weight Watchers allows 'free' fruit, but reservations persist
One strategy I followed while on Weight Watchers a few years ago (long before Me Minus 10) was opting not to waste any of my daily "points" on fruit. Why spend a point or two on an apple or banana when you could save them to use toward a cheeseburger?… Nutritionally speaking, fruit's not that great a bargain, according to Joanne Slavin, professor of food science and nutrition at the University of Minnesota and a member of the federally appointed 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. The Washington Post

Minn. hangs on to 8 seats in Congress
Defying regional population trends, Minnesota gained just enough residents between 2000 and 2010 to hang onto all eight of its congressional seats, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Tuesday… University of Minnesota geography Prof. John Fraser Hart called Minnesota "an island of stability in the depopulating Midwest." Star Tribune.

Food safety bill passes with exemption for small farms
The Food Safety Modernization Act passed by the U.S. House strengthens government oversight of food processing facilities and farms, but a controversial part of the bill exempts small farms from most safety oversight... Joellen Feirtag is a food safety specialist at the University of Minnesota Extension. Minnesota Public Radio.